IN & OUT (4)
The newly formed Laoag City International Circle based in Carson, CA, has confirmed participation in the activities of Pamulinawen 2006. However, the group has opted for a non-traditional mode of participation. Eschewing the traditional Balikbayan and coronation nights which have become the norm, this dynamic group under the leadership of Rosario Siazon-Bonoan, has embarked on a more meaningful and lasting activity. “Instead of the traditional floats and coronation nights, it is more substantial and meaningful to spend the money for direct help,.” Siazon-Bonoan said.
In only the first year of existence, the group will launch their Scholarship Program on February 5, Sunday afternoon at the Fort Ilocandia Resort Hotel, with an initial batch of 8 students to be awarded full and comprehensive scholarship grants. According to Siazon-Bonoan, the grants will encompass not only direct educational costs such as tuition and books, but will also cover indirect and miscellaneous expenses as in transportation, clothing, and board and lodging. Further, the locally based screening committee headed by Mrs. Ely L. Santos with such notables as Fr. Rock Bonoan and Dr. Cecilia Aribuabo, will also serve as a supervisory panel not only to monitor the progress of the scholars but to provide guidance and moral support as well.
Accordingly, the project has met with considerable enthusiasm and has spawned inquiries from numerous individuals and families desiring to get involved in the program as well. The group hopes to be able to channel new contributions towards granting additional scholarships. The group is also planning to sponsor vocational scholarships in addition to the full-length courses currently sponsored so a to benefit a greater number of students.
Truly, this innovative project promises to have a more meaningful, substantial and lasting effect, long after the fiesta celebrations have ended.
Taking a breather from the salt mines, I accompanied LC Councilor Jay S. Ramos and the members of the MMSU-GSSC on their outreach program to the remote town of Adams last Sunday, January 29..
Rapidly gaining a reputation as a prime eco-tourism destination, an hour’s trek through the pristine forests en route to Annuplig Falls indeed confirmed this. Running out of bottled water, I had to drink from the crystalline stream fed by the roaring falls; despite my subsistence on bottled water for the last 9 years, I suffered no ill effects thus confirming the locals belief in the water’s purity.
There is still much to be done. Firstly, there is no permanent tourist center to guide visitors to the different scenic spots of the town. Perhaps, the DOT can begin to take the lead in cooperation with the NGO environmental and adventure groups in establishing a viable tourist and conservation program.
There is also potential for the development of the local cuisine featuring such delicacies as freshwater eel and fresh, mountain “bukto” which we partook of for lunch.
It is heartening to note that the local residents have a mindset towards the maintenance and preservation of the environment in which our guides asked us to collect our trash and dispose of this at the town proper. Hopefully, my future grandchildren will be able to walk through the same pristine forests that have so refreshed and captivated me.
For those who wish to savor the wonders of nature, make a trip to the paradise that is Adams.
February 2 will mark the first death anniversary of Vice-mayor Jimmy Chua. Sources close to the late official disclosed that a simple mass service would be held. The same sources also expressed frustration over the course of the case, which is still pending with the DOJ.
Meanwhile, Councilor Lazo, when queried by reporters reiterated his appeal to fellow councilor dela Cuesta to reveal the “truth” about the murder. Governor Marcos also issued a statement referring to witnesses who may be afraid to come out in the open.
It is the fear of many that the non-resolution of the case poses a negative precedent and may lead to similar events in the future.